Laws requiring early electoral roll closure ruled unconstitutional

From SMH, news just in:

The High Court have ruled that Howard-era laws which close the electoral rolls on e day that writs for an election are issue are invalid… Activist group GetUp! brought the constitutional challenge, arguing the laws effectively disenfranchised young people.

Great work by GetUp!: the closing of the rolls on the day the writs were issued have never been explained as anything other than simple disenfranchisement of young people: Australians cannot be on the roll before 17 and only tend to enrol for the first election they are eligible to vote in, so this has very effectively locked new voters out of at least their first election.

They may also seek a ruling to allow electronically signed enrolment forms: at present the AEC insists on having a physical signature made with a pen, or facsimile thereof (ie, as produced by a fax machine or a scanner).

Update: the AEC has a statement about the decision, and will now inform voters who submitted enrolment forms on or before July 26 that they are eligible. However they will have to make a declaration vote, because the printed books will not include their names:

… voters affected by today’s decision who attend a polling place on election day (or early voting centre) will have to cast a declaration vote and provide an accepted form of evidence of identity. The AEC therefore urges those electors to carry their driver’s licence or other accepted form of identity with them when voting to easily meet these requirements…

Other acceptable forms of ID are given in the statement.



Categories: Politics

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9 replies

  1. WooHoo!

  2. Good to see on a day where Howard has just joined the fray. He could have some tricky questions to answer.
    Another 100 000 people entitled to vote this election. Headache for the AEC who aren’t at fault here, but good that those voices will be heard.

  3. Well done GetUp! – this is the most productive activist outreach they’ve done yet.

  4. Stephen was telling me this evening that he saw a blogpost somewhere critical of GetUp for “wasting peoples’ money” etc. etc. – obviously said person was unaware that GetUp actually e-mailed its members asking whether they supported the action before they actually filed the proceedings, and did so after 86% of members responded supporting the action.

  5. GetUp offering to personally deliver free placards to anyone who wants them this weekend
    http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/Australia_GetsUp_2010&id=1264?dc=1263,570029,3

  6. Great result Get Ip!
    Would hope that the AEC anticipated that the legislation would be overturned (and why wouldn’t it be overturned?) and have their act ready to go.

  7. Hypothetically, if someone was enrolled but needed to update their address, hypothetically, are they now able to do so? Hypothetically.

  8. Donna,
    The SMH said that “GetUp! [will] not push for the AEC to reopen the electoral roll” and the AEC’s statement says that they will now incorporate enrolments (not sure if that includes updates) that were submitted before Monday 26 July.
    So the hypothetical voter (HV) is still out of luck with regard to enrolling at their new address. My understanding is that assuming that HV is still enrolled at the old address, HV should vote in that electorate, and HV should probably update their enrolment for future elections while it is on their mind.

  9. Update to body of post: the AEC has a statement about the decision, and will now inform voters who submitted enrolment forms on or before July 26 that they are eligible. However they will have to make a declaration vote, because the printed books will not include their names:

    … voters affected by today’s decision who attend a polling place on election day (or early voting centre) will have to cast a declaration vote and provide an accepted form of evidence of identity. The AEC therefore urges those electors to carry their driver’s licence or other accepted form of identity with them when voting to easily meet these requirements…

    Other acceptable forms of ID are given in the statement.

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